Overcoming any form of addiction is tough, since people need to not only refrain from taking the drug they are addicted to, but they must also learn how to eliminate certain habits and behaviours from their lives that they have associated or linked with their drug use.
Individuals who are suffering from alcohol addiction may find that checking themselves into a rehab centre or joining AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) might help them to begin addressing the problems that they are experiencing, as a result of alcohol abuse.
But before that, perhaps the biggest challenge is the individual acknowledging that they have an addiction to alcohol and then accepting that they might require help in order to overcome this addiction.
Comparing and Contrasting the Costs and Benefits of Drinking
A good way to start addressing the problems associated with alcohol abuse might be to create a simple table that evaluates the benefits and drawbacks of drinking alcohol. The individual can then use this table to better understand how the addiction is affecting their life, and this could also help them to know which steps to take next in order to begin the road to recovery.
For instance, people suffering from alcohol addiction could create a table that looks something like this:
|Positive Aspects Of Drinking Alcohol
|Negative Aspects Of Drinking Alcohol
|● In moderation, drinking can be an enjoyable experience.
● Drinking can be a form of escapism from problems that the individual may have in life.
|● It can cause problems in relationships.
● It can cause feelings of depression and other mental health problems.
● It can potentially cause problems in other areas of life, such as work or at home.
● The individual might feel that they are escaping their problems through drinking, but becoming addicted to alcohol could cause them greater problems as a result.
|Positive Aspects Of Quitting Alcohol
|Negative Aspects Of Quitting Alcohol
|● Potentially better relationships, as they might have been negatively affected by alcohol misuse.
● Mental and physical health will improve as a result of not drinking.
● There will be more time and energy available for connecting with friends and engaging in activities that the person is passionate about.
|● Friendships could potentially end with people who are frequent alcohol drinkers.
● If alcohol was used as a coping mechanism for problems in life, some sort of replacement activity might need to take its place.
● Quitting drinking could lead to the individual needing to address tough responsibilities or challenges in life that they were previously ignoring or avoiding.
It is clear even from this example table that when you begin to start comparing and contrasting the costs and benefits of drinking alcohol, the advantages of quitting are far more preferable.
It also illustrates the issues associated with alcohol misuse, such as ignoring one’s problems and responsibilities in life, together with the fact that if the addiction continues, it could cause serious damage to relationships, as well as the individual themself.
Therefore, this exercise should only be used to demonstrate the problems associated with alcohol misuse, together with showing the individual what they can gain through quitting drinking.
Moreover, if the user is not able to quit without help, they may potentially benefit from seeking guidance and support from a rehab facility, or by joining an AA group.
Setting Goals and Quitting Drinking
Before an individual considers checking themselves into a rehab facility, or choosing to go to AA meetings, they might want to think about setting themselves some short-term goals that could help them to reduce their alcohol abuse, or even quit altogether.
For example, by taking simple steps such as drinking slower, reducing the amount of alcohol consumed in a session, and not having alcohol readily available at home, an individual can reduce their intake slightly.
From there, they could then test themselves by choosing days of the week when they don’t drink anything, all while keeping a written record of any alcohol consumed, and days where no alcohol was consumed.
Once the individual has realised that they are able to refrain from drinking for entire days, they might wish to test themselves by trying not to drink for a whole week, and so on.
Repeating these methods and introducing rules could help an individual to gain some control over their drinking habits, and may even allow them to quit entirely. However, every person is different, and for some people, self-control could be a truly unconquerable obstacle. In those situations, it might be time to consider seeking professional health.
Rehab and AA
Professional health and support is available to people addicted to alcohol via a range of different alcohol treatment programs. Here are a few options that are available:
Behavioural therapy can help people to understand why they have become addicted to alcohol. This can be achieved by addressing the root causes of the problem.
For instance, it could be established that the individual has feelings of inadequacy or low self-esteem, and alcohol has been used as a way to overcome those feelings, by giving the user an opportunity to feel and act differently.
The therapist could then offer solutions to the person suffering from the addiction that help them to address the problem, whilst also receiving advice that could help them to live a better life in general.
Moreover, therapy could help individuals to understand how to avoid relapse by becoming acquainted with their ‘triggers’ (the things that cause them to feel that they need to drink in order to alleviate certain negative feelings).
Residential treatment programs (rehab) can offer individuals help and support through a package that offers continual medical assistance and monitoring, a place to reside temporarily whilst undergoing treatment, as well as access to therapy and other resources that might help with their addiction.
This program is similar to rehab, only differing in that the individual will not have access to all of the potential benefits and resources available at a residential treatment centre, though they will have a place to stay during their recovery, as well as access to support from physicians who will be frequently monitoring them during their stay.